Sky Bet League One fans, fear not. Whilst the season has just ended, there isn’t so long to go until we get started all over again! League sponsors Sky Bet have issues odds who will win the league, meaning we can make a predicted league table out of this.
It is perhaps not so much of a surprise to see how certain times are priced up. There are however a couple of shocks and a bit of value to be had for those that are eagle-eyed enough to spot it! League One is traditional a competitive league, but there are a few times tipped to struggle at this level next season.
Starting at the top, who are the favourites to win the league? (All odds based on winning the league title)
Sunderland (4/1), Barnsley (13/2)
It appears these two are to contest for top spot, if the odds are anything to go by. Jack Ross is in the hotseat at the Stadium of Light, and the highly-rated former St Mirren boss is backed to make an immediate impact at the club, and at this level. Barnsley are fancied to do well too, but first things first, they need a new manager!
There are several clubs in the play-off race, as expected. We’ll focus on the first group.
Charlton Athletic & Portsmouth (11/1), Scunthorpe United (12/1), Luton Town (14/1), Peterborough United & Shrewsbury Town (16/1)
Charlton lost in the play-offs last season, and the club are hopeful of going one better this time around. Portsmouth are always a team expected to do well, and having done OK in their first season back at this level last year, they too will expect a play-off push at least. Scunthorpe regularly finish around the play-off spots, and having lost to Rotherham in the semi-finals, Nick Daws shall push for automatic promotion this time around. Luton are used to winning after winning promotion, and whilst back-to-back is never easy, nobody would bet against Nathan Jones delivering that. Peterborough United, now led by Steve Evans, will certainly give it a good go, whilst Shrewsbury face a mammoth challenge trying to replicate last season, and replacing Paul Hurst with the right man is their first concern.
Who else fancies a play-off push?
Bristol Rovers, Coventry City, Oxford United & Southend United (20/1), Blackpool, Bradford City, Burton Albion, Doncaster Rovers, Fleetwood Town & Rochdale (25/1)
This category of club could easily challenge for a play-off spot, or certainly have a season of struggle. Find margins separate the two. Bristol Rovers get good crowds and are never an easy opponent to face, whilst Coventry, like Luton, will believe back-to-back promotions is achievable. Oxford are an ambitious club who will have high standards, whilst Chris Powell will look to get Southend challenging for the top six. Blackpool are a comfortable mid-table side, who could have ‘one of those seasons’, whilst Bradford have proved before they can reach the play-off spots. Burton were relegated but they’ll gladly take on the underdog role in the league below once more. Darren Ferguson and Joey Barton are individuals that won’t be content with mid-table obscurity, so they’ll look to get Doncaster and Fleetwood respectively challenging. Rochdale had a tough campaign last time around, but Keith Hill is the right man at the helm.
These sides however are tipped to struggle:
Plymouth Argyle (28/1), AFC Wimbledon (33/1), Walsall & Wycombe Wanderers (50/1), Accrington Stanley & Gillingham 66/1)
Plymouth only just missed out on the play-offs but they produced a hell of a run to get into contention, which is never easily repeated. They’ll believe it is possible. AFC Wimbledon would gladly take a season of survival, but long-serving Neal Ardley will believe they can cause a shock or two. Dean Keates is in charge at Walsall, and the former midfielder will look to also surprise a few along the way. Wycombe are finally promoted into this league after many attempts to get out of League Two. They’ll certainly want to make the most of this opportunity. Accrington are expected to struggle, and against all odds they won promotion. John Coleman believes they can look up the table, whilst Gillingham have had some tough seasons and will also be glad to avoid relegation for another year.